Is There a Split in Democratic Leadership?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Nuclear Situation

The folks at The Washington Quarterly — a foreign policy journal from the Center for Strategic and International Studies — were trying to promote a forthcoming article on the North Korea nuclear situation by former Clinton administration State Department official Joel Wit — at almost the exact same time an agreement was reached for North Korea to begin abandoning its nuclear program.

Here is the beginning of Wit's article:

"The stalemate at the six-party talks ... is yet another sign that U.S. policy has failed. Hamstrung by bureaucratic bickering, unable to build a cohesive multilateral coalition in support of its efforts, and unwilling to engage in serious negotiations with Pyongyang, Washington now faces the real prospect of a North Korea armed with a small but growing nuclear deterrent."

At Odds?

There is word tonight that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are once again at odds. The Hill newspaper reports an aide in Pelosi's office said Hoyer had been "getting out in front" of an emerging consensus against allowing Republicans to introduce an alternative resolution on Iraq.

Hoyer last week first said Republicans would be allowed to have their say — then quickly reversed himself. Hoyer's aides deny a split in leadership. But the article says there may be lingering tension from Pelosi's unsuccessful effort to bump Hoyer from the majority leader spot in favor of John Murtha.

"Shameless Support"

Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack is criticizing Joe Kennedy for what he calls "shameless support" of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Kennedy is appearing on TV ads advising poor people to apply for discounted energy, saying, "heating oil at 40 percent off from our friends in Venezuela and CITGO."

Cybercast News Service reports Mack wrote a letter to Kennedy calling Chavez "a sworn enemy of the United States," and saying Kennedy has "chosen to actively participate in Chavez's charade."

Mack refers to Kennedy's uncle — president John F. Kennedy — and his warnings about the threats posed by Fidel Castro — a good friend of Chavez.

"Journalistic Lapses"

New York Times public editor Byron Calame says a front page story last month declaring that more American women are living without a husband than with one featured "several journalistic lapses."

Calame reports the study included women as young as 15, a fact the reporter initially denied but later confirmed. Times editors concede that they put the article on the front page because of the dramatic nature of the headline. Managing editor Jill Abramson admitted that, "no questions about the methodology or age categories were discussed."

Blogger Resigns

And one of those two controversial bloggers working on the John Edwards campaign has resigned. Amanda Marcotte says she is leaving after what she described as a "scorched earth" campaign by what she called "right wing shills.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue had publicized several postings from Marcotte and fellow blogger Melissa McEwan that he characterized as religion and anti-catholic.

Edwards last week refused to fire the women — saying that even though he was personally

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.